The ICS is a STANDARDIZED system that provides for a standardized system to be utilized in combating emergencies. ICS consists of the personnel, facilities, equipment, communications and procedures operating within a common organizational structure to accomplish the objectives pertaining to an incident.
The Incident Command System is a management tool designed to bring multiple responding agencies, including those from different jurisdictions, together under a single overall command structure. Under ICS, each agency recognizes one “lead” coordinating agency and person, will handle one or more tasks that are part of a single over-all plan, and interact with other agencies in defined ways.
The Incident Command System is based upon simple and proven business management principles. In a business or government agency, managers and leaders perform the basic daily tasks of planning, directing, organizing, coordinating, communicating, delegating, and evaluating. The same is true for the Incident Command System, but the responsibilities are often shared between several agencies. These tasks, or functional areas as they are known in the ICS, are performed under the overall direction of a single Incident Commander (IC) in a coordinated manner, even with multiple agencies and across jurisdictional lines.
The ICS supports the creation of a flexible organizational structure that can be modified to meet changing conditions. Under the ICS, the one person in charge is always called the “Incident Commander” (IC). In large responses, the IC may have a “General Staff” consisting of the Information, Safety, and Liaison Officers. In a smaller incident, the IC may also handle one, two, or all three of these positions, if they are needed at all.
The primary purpose and objective of ICS is EFFICIENT MANAGEMENT of assigned resources for effective and efficient control of any situation. ICS can be adapted to any task requiring a standard method of organization, terminology and identification. ICS has been designed to become the basic operating system for every incident within each agency on a day-to-day basis. The transition from normal day-to-day operations to that of multi- agency involvement should require a minimum of turmoil for any agency. ICS begins at the time an incident occurs and continues until the requirement for management and operations no longer exists.